Wednesday, May 11, 2011

The Law of Tithing

A devoted man in Hungary lived a life of poverty. The floors in their home were made of dirt. Having no money to replace them, he mended his garmants on a daily basis, so that he could continue to wear them. He had a crippled walk and only one good arm. He didn’t have enough money to by a car or pay for public transportation. Through all this he faithfully attended his church meetings as often as he could. In order to do so, he had to walk an hour to catch one bus that would get him close enough to walk the rest of the way to church. He went alone, being the only member in his family. With all the trials of life that he faced, this valiant man was a faithful full tithe payer. He did not simply go through the motions of paying a full tithe, he truly understood the law of tithing.

We will all come to points in our lives when we may ask what that includes. For example; Does one pay tithing on a scholarship received for college? Does one pay tithing on their tax return? This is where the Spirit will guide the true of heart. Tithing is not just a duty to check off the list, it is much more. Tithing is a test of our faith.

Joseph F. Smith said: “By this principle [tithing] the loyalty of the people of this church shall be put to the test. By this principle it shall be known who is for the kingdom of God and who is against it. By this principle it shall be seen whose hearts are set on doing the will of God and keeping his commandments, thereby sanctifying the land of Zion unto God, and who are opposed to this principle and have cut themselves off from the blessings of Zion. There is a great deal of importance connected with this principle, for by [our payment of tithes] it shall be known whether we are faithful or unfaithful. In this respect it is as essential as faith in God, as repentance of sin, as baptism for the remission of sins, or the laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost. For if a man keep all the law save one point, and he offend in that, he is a transgressor of the law, and he is not entitled to the fullness of the blessings of Jesus Christ. But when a man keeps all the law that is revealed, according to his strength, and his ability, though what he gives may be little, it is just as acceptable in the sight of God as if he were able to do a thousand times more. The law of tithing is a test by which the people as individuals shall be proved. Any man who fails to observe this principle shall be known as a man who is indifferent to the welfare of Zion, who neglects his duty as a member of the church… He neglects to do that which would entitle him to receive the blessings and ordinances of the gospel.”

This faith, necessary for our development on earth, may start as a simple seed to be nurished. Showing forth a particle of faith, is the very key to achieve the faith of a giant.

Russell M. Nelson said, “To develop enduring faith, an enduring commitment to be a full-tithe payer is essential. Initially it takes faith to tithe. Then the tithe payer develops more faith to the point that tithing becomes a precious priviledge. Tithing is an ancient law from God. He made a promise to His children that He would “open the windows of heaven, and pour… out a blessing, that there may not be room enough to receive it. Not only that, tithing will keep your name enrolled among the people of God, and protect you in the day of vengeance and burning.”

If we all truly understood those promises and blessings, not one soul would deny themselves the right to be so blessed. To be protected “in the day of vengeance and burning”. What a wonderful promise. We have been told to gather food storage, learn self reliance, and prepare temporally for the days that lay ahead. Should we not also prepare spiritually by paying a full tithe?

The prime purpose behind tithing is for the tithe-payer. The Church is grateful for our giving and it is used to further the Kingdom of God, however, we are the greatest beneficiaries.

Blessings may come immediately or in future times when the Lord knows best. We are blessed with the necessities of life. This does not mean wealth, yet we are blessed with what we need. The Lord blesses us with wisdom the manage our material resources, and our remaining 90%.

Spiritually we are blessed with further guidance of the Holy Ghost and a strengthened faith and testimony. We are able to develop a submissive and grateful heart, that confesses his hand in all things.

“Tithing makes its greatest appeal to the sincere mind because of its spiritual significance. It is an unfailing source of spiritual power. True and constant obedience to this law will give as much spiritua ldevelopment as will obedience to any other principle of the gospel.” (President David O. McKay)

It would be impossible to list all the possible ways that the Lord enriches our lives. The bottom line is that we cannot afford not to pay tithing.

Our children need to be taught from a young age the true meaning of tithing. We do not want to rob them of blessings they can receive, by not distilling in them a testimony of this law. Teach them during family home evening, or as they receive their allowance, birthday, or christmas money. Show them through your example the importance of tithing. Take them with you to tithing settlement so that they get the opportunity to report to the Bishop on their own, and above all, to see your faithfullness as you report.

After time and again of hearing young teens say they cannot pay their tithing because they need to save for their missions, Elder Hales encouraged us to teach them young. Teach them now, so that when they do serve their missions they are able to have a testimony of it on their own, to teach others. Teach them to pay with a cheerful and willing heart.

“But this I say, He which soweth sparingly shall reap sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap bountifully.

Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver.”

2 Corinthians 9:6-7

Laman and Lemuel followed their father and journeyed just as Nephi did, yet they did it grudgingly. In contrast, Nephi followed with a cheerful heart.

The same can be said of tithing. There are those who give out of necessity, all along thinking of all the other purchases they could be making with that money. And there are those who give cheerfully, considering it a priviledge. They pay with a grateful heart, feeling indebted to the Lord for all He has given them.

It is our priviledge to participate in the building of the kingdom of God, both temporally and spiritually. When we grow spiritually we can help others do the same, therefore building God’s spiritual army.